The first trip my wife and I took after the COVID travel restrictions were lifted was a doozy. Our first flight in over a year was a three-hop journey from our small Montana town to Alaska for an old friend’s wedding. With a six-month-old. On our laps. The whole time. My wife and I had our first round of vaccines but worried about our daughter, who was still far too young to have a dose. After much risk assessment and consultation with our pediatrician, we decided to go for it. Mask wear was strictly enforced on the airplane and in most of the public places we found ourselves, and there was a profound and somewhat discomforting sense that we and our fellow travelers were searching for a way to exist comfortably in this new not-yet-maybe-never-post-COVID world. The thing I remember most, though, was how incredibly freeing it felt to be somewhere new again. So much time spent at home, however necessary, had inflicted an unhealthy solitude on much of society, and my first time solidly stepping away from that felt energizing. I’ve always loved to travel and doing so after the darkest days of the pandemic felt like a happy return to form. A reverse homecoming, if you will.
The Desert Botanical Garden is a fixture of Phoenix area tourism. A botanical garden of arid lands, it's unique and draws thousands of visitors every year. Their social media emphasized the importance of masking during the pandemic, with the catchy phrase "Let's not get prickly about safety."
Worldwide, nations implemented social distancing and disease mitigation strategies in the Spring of 2020. These policies varied widely, but many places experienced restrictions on personal movement and travel.
For your submission, respond to the following prompt:
When travel restrictions were lifted, did you take a trip? If so, where did you go and why? What are your memories of this trip? Were there any continuing COVID-19 restrictions in place?
If you did not travel and have still not traveled, answer the following question: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? What destinations would you be sure to see? How would you document your trip (journal, social media, etc.)?
How and What to Submit:
For this assignment, you'll submit one item that captures a travel memory that relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. You'll submit your item to the COVID-19 Archive Links to an external site.on the "Share your Story Page." Include the following metadata (information):
The description (this is the most important part.
Tags: at a minimum (Arizona State University, HST 643, and History of Tourism). Feel free to add your own additional tags.
Type: Audio recording, photograph, video, text story, recipe, etc.
Date (When did this story happen)
Contributor (your name)
Location (where did/does this memory take place).
What to submit:
Submit your story to the archive
Submit the title of your story on Canvas and the date you submitted it. This will help me find it in the archive.
Once summer hit Arizona and all the clubs and pools remained closed due to the pandemic, my friends and I were forced to get creative. We managed to find several hiking trails outside of Phoenix that led to glorious water (a treasure out here). We would spend hours at the little pools and waterfalls, talking about what we missed from our previous lives. Sometimes we would bring packs of White Claws- a COVID hit, and pretend we were in Vegas at the dayclubs. Back then, everything was a big ‘what if.’ We all thought that by September of 2020 we would be back in classes, moving on with our lives and not giving a second thought to the mayhem the pandemic brought on. We had no idea what the future held, but we were able to escape to our desert oasis and enjoy one another the way we deserved.
When I think of COVID-19, I think of all the wonderful quality time I got to spend with my family. I was lucky enough to have moved back in with my parents at the beginning of the pandemic for what I thought was going to be a short time, but turned into a year and a half long party. My family and I would spend our days doing homework, working, and driving each other crazy. Coming from an Italian family, we tend to all be loud and annoy one another easily (with love of course). At night, we would have themed dinners, dressing up like we were going to the Grammys, making fresh pina coladas and hanging out by the pool. At the time, I was annoyed. Annoyed to be finally 21 and have to spend the whole summer stuck at home with my parents and younger siblings. Annoyed that I was unable to go back to school, or see any of my friends. Looking back now, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to drive my family nuts. Now, in 2023, life is returning to “normal.” I see my parents once a week, my brother lives outside of LA, and my sister is busy with her own life. I miss them. I miss waking up to my dads new hobby of the week, or playing cards with my mom till midnight. COVID brought us together and allowed us to forge a different kind of bond and make positive memories that I will cherish forever.
During COVID-19 I worked at Target. I was freshly 21 and like everyone else, was shocked by the intensity and severity of the pandemic. What had begun as a part-time gig quickly became my entire world. In the state I lived in, our store was considered an “essential business,” and therefore remained open. It was my job to stock and fold children’s clothes, maintaining a clean store front in the midst of the chaos. Throughout the early days, I would stand behind my folding table watching full-grown adults battle over toilet paper. They would line up outside of the store hours before it opened to ensure they’d receive a package of the holy grail. Suddenly, folding Peppa Pig shirts wasn’t my only duty. I became the protector of fitting rooms, the hunter of lost and contaminated clothing; gathering items that had been illegally tried on and stuffing them into their quarantine room, to “disinfect” for 3-5 business days. Being an essential employee during the pandemic made me jaded. It offered me insight into the human mind, a glimpse of what panic and fear can do to a person. I saw the worst, but also experienced kindness and empathy from people who understood what it was like to be caught in the midst of the hellfire. For some, Target turned into a safe haven, a place that remained open and reliable despite the madness going on in the world, while others gave up their sanity to keep it up and running. I will always think of my time at Target as a glitch in the matrix; a bizarre patch of time that tested the strength of a part-time sales associate, and humanity.
This photo was taken during what would have been Preview Night of San Diego Comic Con in 2020. Fans made a shrine of art, flowers, and merchandise at the Tin Fish restaurant directly across the street from the San Diego Convention Center.
This photo was taken of my friends and me right before we fought the ender dragon on the first Minecraft world we played at the start of the pandemic.
This photograph was taken at Giant Food Store in Perkasie, Pennsylvania at the onset of the pandemic. This was the state of the paper product aisle. Stores across the nation struggled to keep up with extreme demand for paper products, sanitizers, and hand soaps. This resulted in months of empty shelves as the town's residents tried to avoid leaving their home and fears grew that even the stores would eventually be locked down.
I have been a theatre educator for almost 10 years, in particular, children's theatre. I have seen, experienced, and done all that there can be done in a field such as this. Before the official lockdown, we were in the middle of rehearsing 5 different productions. Then, the world shut down and everything stopped.
Once it was finally deemed "safe" to be back around one another, rehearsals started again and picked up where we left off. The kids were now older, they had memorized this script forward and back while being stuck at home, and they were eager to get back to work and finish their show.
We social distanced, always fever checked, washed hands around the clock, and packed every safety measure we could.
Before they begun to sing, they asked me which would be okay to use - the mask or their shield.
I took this photo at the end of their dance, when the boundaries of social distancing did not apply.
I remember when they leaned in to one another, hovering over someone else, I audibly gasped because I had not seen them that close together in so long.
This photo will always remind me of how nervous I was to transition back to post lockdown.
This was the first time I had physically gone back to the doctors since the pandemic. At this point in time, virtual or phone visits were the option available to seek help for the minor things.
Unsure of the official protocols, as it felt like the world was stuck between going back to what was once normal and isolation - I sat next to my son, who was five at the time, like normal. He stared at me for a moment, scooted away and said, "Mom, you have to stay 6 feet apart."
As I went to go sit by myself in a chair, I snapped this photo of him looking out the window. It was the first time I ever truly felt that things would never go back to normal.
March 2020. By now we have heard all the news about how COVID-19 is spreading and made it to the United States. The lockdowns were starting. I was working in a legal marijuana dispensary. A normal weekday at 2PM is our slow period, but this was different. We saw more customers than normal since most have been excused from work to start quarantining. By now most people have hoarded supplies such as food and toilet paper. But these customers were worried about being locked down without their weed. Customers were maxing out their legal limits they could buy. Shelves once full of edibles and vapes were running low. Nobody could have guessed that recreational marijuana would be considered essential, but to a lot of people it was. And that was the beginning of working through a pandemic.
For generations that had never experienced a pandemic, the Coronavirus was not the only novel thing to adjust to. New nomenclature became the norm, including "Super spreader". The term was used to describe large groups gathering, especially during the holidays. Any other year, "plan a super spread" would be understood as a spread of food items. But for a population that was being restricted from large gatherings, in 2022, from holidays to Weddings to funerals, the company's attempt at clever advertising came off as tone-deaf and offensive. After backlash, Giant Food Stores formally apologized.
This was a meme my friends and I shared around after Zoom became the #1 way of communicating, both in work and personal lives. It's poking fun at how awkward and stiff people usually look on camera, as well as the learning curve around using different Zoom functions.
Article goes over the auto industry being affected by the pandemic. These kind of levels of economic interconnectivity really were exposed during the pandemic.
When I went to work at Ernst and Young, I thought partners were going to figure out in a New York minute that I didn’t belong there because I lacked the intellectual curiosity, problem-solving talent, communication ability, or any of these characteristics of a professional consultant. I was extremely anxious on my first day. When I entered the Orange County office with its oil paintings hanging in the entryway and its staircase connecting the floor on which consulting Partners had offices to the floor on which audit Partners resided, I knew I didn’t belong there. Then I met Francesco; he was a shaman bearing wise council. I felt at ease instantly. Francesco’s friendship and advice were just what the doctor ordered. On the first project I managed, Francesco worked for me as a member of the consulting team. The Partner we reported to did not like Francesco. He didn’t like his style of communication, his style of dress, nor his accent–Francesco was Chinese-Indonesian. I gave up my integrity by sharing in the Partner’s dislike of Francesco. But my opinion was dishonest. He had been my savior, after all. Role forward six years, and Francesco now works for a small consulting firm I own. Francesco is a loyal consultant in which I confide my innermost emotions. Unfortunately, my consulting firm went through a period of contraction that meant Francesco had to find employment elsewhere. Still, we met regularly to explore opportunities to grow my company so that Francesco and I could work on the same team again. As always, Francesco was a source of limitless ideas and friendship. Francesco passed away on September 2nd, 2020. He was taken from humanity at much too young of an age. He did not succumb to COVID. I don’t even remember how COVID affected me at the time because I was so distraught over Francesco’s passing. I didn’t lose a colleague. I lost a friend.
I run almost every day. During the summer of 2020, I was undergoing prostate salvage radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is sometimes proscribed after one has their prostate removed. I ran no less during the prostate radiation therapy. I've always eaten healthy food. Still, I drank water more regularly during radiation therapy. Driving from my home to the Anderson Cancer Center was an enjoyable experience, mostly because the freeway was so deserted–there were almost no cars on the road. I live in uptown San Diego, so my long runs take me through downtown San Diego. Before each run, I spend a few minutes practicing martial arts. I imagine the neighbors watching me thought I was having some kind of fit. After warming up with martial arts, I start my run. The first place my run takes me is through the Hillcrest community, usually a place with the lively hustle and bustle of people moving about, but on this day, Hillcrest was deserted. Most restaurants were closed, and a few people were milling about–Hillcrest was a ghost town. It reminded me of the town portrayed in the 1973 film High Plains Drifter. Folks were hiding, hiding from COVID by hiding from each other. From Hillcrest, my run took me through downtown San Diego where the streets were equally deserted. The deserted streets reminded me of running through another movie, the 1964 film, The Last Man on Earth. I imagined inhuman monsters were preparing to spread COVID that would spring into action without warning. Of course, all this fantasizing made my daily run even more fun and pleasurable. I could let my imagination wander momentarily, then return to the peaceful meditation of running through deserted streets. The COVID protocols made possible the escape from the COVID reality itself. I'm convinced the long runs played a vital role in mitigating the effects of radiation therapy.
These three things basically sum up how I spent my days during the lockdown of the pandemic. I would go on Zoom for class, would typically make some Kraft mac & cheese for lunch or dinner, and would binge watch Avatar the Last Airbender on Netflix. Sometimes I did a combination of both; I remember eating mac & cheese and playing hangman with my friends on Zoom. These are three things that I associate with quarantine.
The plastic dividers were and are an integral part of COVID. My high school's cafeteria had them and it made it hard to hear my friends when we were conversing. Like this TikTok post I saw awhile ago, it reminded me of how it separated me from the customers at my job around a year ago. The dividers were made to keep people safer from COVID-19 even when at a close distance from each other. However, one time when I was at work, the sliding doors to the entrance were open, and it was so windy outside one day that the wind blew the plastic divider onto my back when I was turned around bagging an item for a customer. I have a personal grudge against those things now.
March of 2020 is one of the most memorable dates in my life. I was a junior in high school, and news of COVID-19 spreading throughout the United States was increasingly growing. I remember being on a bus with people who went to my high school after our school's girls basketball team played a game a couple hours away from where our school was. Our team lost in a close regional finals game, so the ride back home was somewhat gloomy. I remember people behind me talking about this new virus, now COVID-19, and I heard them say, "I hope it doesn't come to Ohio." This moment is engrained in my mind because just a couple weeks later, the whole world went into lockdown, and I missed out on the rest of my junior year of high school. It is somewhat weird to think about how back in the earlier days of the pandemic, everyone was confused and worried about what COVID-19 was, and now, it is just a normal aspect of our lives today.
I got married on April 4, 2020. We had planned 125 guests. I was so excited to celebrate with everyone. I remember hearing about covid in China in February and thinking that it was so far away I shouldn't worry. While my daughter was on Spring break everything started shutting down. At first it seemed temporary. Like it would just be a week or two. Just until things died down. Then local governments started getting strict as it became apparent how dangerous covid was. As the rules changed, I had to send apologetic emails disinviting guests due to limits on gatherings. We went from 125 to 100. Then it went to 75, 50, and 25. Each time it was agonizing figuring out who would be cut from our wedding. Finally it came down to just our parents, the pastor and his family, and the photographer. I got my wedding dress back from alterations the day the shop closed down to the public. We had the wedding in my parents' backyard. The pastor's children played guitar and sang. Our honeymoon was canceled a few days before the wedding because the small county in the mountains wasn't letting anyone in who wasn't local. We had a staycation for a honeymoon and played video games together.
We are a blended family. I often tell people we got married at the beginning of the pandemic. It was like "Congratulations on your new sister! You'll be with her 24/7 and never get away from her!" They quickly became sisters. They were each other's only playmate. At the same time they irritated each other just like normal siblings. It bonded them as sisters. It was hard for us when my step-daughter started kindergarten in the fall and my daughter started 2nd grade. We had alarms going off all day to try to manage their classroom google calls while my husband and I attempted to work from home. It was very stressful.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2020. At times they refused to allow my dad to accompany her to appointments. She was found crying in a hallway unable to get to the correct room. It was awful. I had to be so careful as my kids started hybrid school to not get her sick. It was hard to balance my kids' need for some stability and trying to be with my mom as much as possible. We made the decision to try for another child so my mom had the best chance at meeting her grandchild. I got to share my positive pregnancy test while visiting. It was such a happy moment in the midst of so much sadness.
Adding to that stress was a difficult custody battle over my daughter. We couldn't have extra people at court to support me. My husband had to leave early to get the kids from school. Being left at the courthouse after testifying about how my ex abused me was one of the loneliest moments of my life. I had to take a Lyft ride back home and try not to break down in a stanger's car.
My mother's condition got worse quickly. We were able to have a family reunion in June. I was nervous about so many people traveling in, but we needed to have mom see family again before something happened. My mom was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of July. I couldn't visit her because of being pregnant and the risk was too high to go to a hospital. My mom and dad supported this and wanted me to keep the baby safe. I had to record a goodbye message to play for her when she was awake. My mom passed on July 5th, 2021. Even at the funeral, I stayed in a separate room and had a friend read the eulogy remarks I prepared.
I had my youngest daughter in February 2022. We were limited on visitors, so only my husband and dad came to the hospital. So many day cares closed in the pandemic, we had a very difficult time finding child care. Despite getting on the list in early pregnancy, we couldn't start at day care until September. We had to use social media to find part time nannies and alter our work hours to cover child care until she could start day care. She actually just tested positive for covid yesterday after another child at daycare was positive earlier in the week. Thankfully she's vaccinated.
I've been through so much since the pandemic. I'm thankful for what I have, I crave rest. I'm worn out. I lost so much. No bridal shower. No honeymoon. No baby shower. No support for happy and sad moments. It's been really hard.
Welfare state can't have open borders
I always send a newsletter at the holidays and share whatever I have been thinking about. I want to keep in touch with friends. My newsletters in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were mostly about the pandemic. I would like now to submit the one for 2022. I already submitted the others.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, my dad was (and still is) a skeptic. He would always ask, "Why do some people get Covid, and others don't? How does the virus choose it's victims?" As the Pandemic continued to grow and spread, my step-mother and I got Covid at the same time. My dad took care of both of us, yet he still did not get Covid. We all survived. Then, the vaccine shots came out, and my dad said, "Hey, I never got it. Why should I take something, when I never got it in the first place?" He did not get the vaccine, while the rest of the family did. Then, my step-mother and I got Covid for a second time. We survived again. Dad said, "I never got the vaccine, and I never got Covid. You guys get the vaccine, and you have it twice. I don't understand at all." To this day, Dad still has not gotten Covid and still refuses to get the vaccines.
For my 21st birthday, I tried to be sensible. We didn't go clubbing, even though they were back open and we hadn't really had a chance to go for three years, and we didn't even go to a bar. 5 of us went to a private karaoke room. We should have been safe. Unfortunately, however, the next day one of my friends texted us that he had tested positive, and pretty soon we were all locked in our apartments. On the 7th day, I tested negative, so, fortunately, was able to go out again. It was a difficult week: I didn't know that many people in Melbourne, and the few I did were equally as infected and were in their own quarantines. I knew no one who could drop off groceries and medication, and online ordering was difficult due to my location. I was incredibly lucky that it was no longer 14 days, but I can certainly say that the 7 were not enjoyable. Fortunately, I was also generally not that unwell (just a fever and a bad cough) and lived in a studio apartment so I had no risk of infecting anyone else. Nevertheless, it was lonely and miserable and I was running out of food. Happy Birthday to me.
The past three years have been incredibly lonely. I've included here a picture of my younger brother on his 18th birthday: a picture I find eerily reminiscent of Edward Hopper's Realist paintings from the 40s and 50s. My brother has always been the most popular person in any room, constantly surrounded by friends, a real party animal. But on his 18th, he was alone (with me and my parents) and couldn't celebrate in the way he would have liked. Since then, he has had a makeup party, but it isn't the same. He also finished high school during this period, and god I feel sorry for the classes of 2020 and 2021. It is easy to be sorry for myself, who has only experienced university through the lens of a post-COVID world, but I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 18th with my friends, finish high-school not on zoom, go to schoolies and travel on a gap year before we were prevented by the pandemic. Poor Sam didn't get any of that, and that really makes me sad.
Throughout the past three years, I've spent much time going back and forth between Sydney and Melbourne (largely unrelated to COVID). I went through a fantastic period where I managed to avoid lockdowns in both states (not on purpose, I promise!), but then I ended up doing both Delta lockdowns in Melbourne and then in Sydney (karma). I've never been more grateful for zoom and facetime so I could keep in touch with my friends no matter where I was.
On 31 March 2022, the first lockdown was initiated in both Melbourne and Sydney. I was in Sydney at the time, having arrived a few days prior from Melbourne as border restrictions were starting to be introduced. I am slightly ashamed to say, now, that I really enjoyed this first lockdown. I hadn't lived at home since 2018, and it was a unique experience to enjoy time together that wouldn't have normally happened. We've always been pretty close, but the lockdown forced an intimacy that we'd never had before (it helped that my teenage brother was required to be at home and boredom had driven him to start having conversations with us again). I think mum and dad were consciously trying to keep lockdown interesting, and soon a weekly cocktail night (with a required lounge formal dress code), bi-weekly painting lessons via zoom and daily yoga with mum, nightly music sessions with dad, lego competitions with the old dusty lego sets, and weekend family walks were introduced. I had never done so much exercise in my life, and yet I had never consumed as much alcohol, either. Even when I lived in a flatshare as an eighteen-year-old. Alcohol quickly became a problem for me, one that I have yet to fully address although I have started to cut down. The taste of wine became associated with fun times with the people I loved, so of course, I loved it. And when the lockdown eventually lifted, I returned to Melbourne nearly friendless (having left before I got the chance to settle in and with little opportunity to meet new people), a cheap bottle of pinot grigio and I became good - if slightly toxic - friends.
I started at Melbourne University in March 2022, moving all the way from Sydney and knowing no one in Melbourne. I quickly made a group of friends at college, but things were still a bit new and awkward - we were in that stage of a new friendship where you are past small talk but not quite at deep and meaningful. Regardless, we decided to take a trip to Melbourne Zoo on the 22nd of March. It was a great day: the sun was shining and the animals were beautiful. We were joking around and it seemed like we were at the start of a really exciting and close friendship.
In the early afternoon, I got a phone call from mum. News had been trickling in over the past month of COVID cases and deaths in Australia, but we still weren't entirely sure how seriously to take the disease, and we were clueless about how it would change our lives. On the phone, mum asked if I had been reading the news. Of course I hadn't. She told me that all non-essential services would be shut down, and that it was likely going to get more strict as the week went on. "I think you should come home. Uni will be online anyway."
The next day, I was on a plane back to Sydney, after only having spent 22 days at college. Never fear, though, I was sure it'd all be over soon.
En esta entrevista Javier Hernández Echeverria es entrevistado por Carmen Kordick Coury concerniente al covid-19 en Costa Rica. Para empezar, hablan de los cambios que habían pasado desde el año anterior. Hablan de la situación en cuenta la pandemia y el programa de la vacunación. Hablan de la gente que aun no se han vacunado por falta de querer. Habla del camino a la normalidad, el uso de mascarillas, del gobierno, y nuevos candidatos. De allí hablan de su vida social, y el concierto de Cold Play. De La Caja, las elecciones, y el seguro social. Otra ves vuelven al tema de las vacunas, de gente que no se quiere vacunarse, de la familia de Javier y las noticias falsas. Habla sobre su vida ya jubilado, de la economía y inflación y gente sin trabajo. Para terminar, hablan de fuentes de información, de las elecciones y el nuevo gobierno. Al final habla del futuro.
During the pandemic it was certainly a struggle for all of us. In my rather large town called Hilliard, many didn't take the pandemic seriously. People straight up just did not care about what was going on, and were even convinced it wasn't real. Even students were denying to wear masks in school. When in came to the point of complete isolation people were surprised, as if they didn't see it possibly happening. I want people to know that this is pandemic is 100% real and it cannot be taken lightly.
DEMOCRACY AT RISK
Me and my sister have been wanting to go back to China for quite some times now – we haven’t seen our grandparents for years due to the pandemic, and they are not getting any younger. But the crazy flight ticket price and the concern that China’s strict covid policies will make it hard for us to come back for school made us postpone our plans. It is also difficult for them to come here, also due to China’s covid policies.
This June, my cousin gave birth to a girl, whom her grandmother and great-grandparents deeply wanted to meet. The pandemic born baby is growing very fast: she used to be too small for the hat that I knitted for her birthday, but now she’s already too big for it.
A door in the neighbourhood is nailed, to stop people with positive cases from going outside. I found it a bit uncomfortable, and I really feel sorry for the people inside.
Early September this year, my uncle Kun Ye went on a business trip to Xinjiang. Unfortunately, as he arrived, positive cases were starting to pop up in the region. He quarantined in the hotel for 20 days, waiting patiently, hoping the situation to improve so he can get his work done. When it got closer to October, a friend in the local government gave him a call, advising him to return to Hubei asap, otherwise it will only get harder and harder for him to go home.
He took that advise and flied back to Jingmen, Hubei, it turned out to be a smart decision. By the start of October, no more flights were either going to or from Xinjiang. The whole region went into quarantine, and people was told by the local government to prepare for up to 7-10 days’ worth of food and other necessities, for the upcoming lockdown.
After Uncle Kun’s arrival to Jingmen, he was told that since he just came from Xinjiang, a place with growing covid cases, he must first go to the square cabins and quarantine for a week. “Life was so bad there”, he told me: “the meals hardly had any meat.” Well, he was a meat lover.
That was not the worst for him. During his isolation, cases appeared in Jingmen as well, (since they just accepted a flight from Xinjiang). A case was found in “Kailin Park”, the community which he lived, and the whole Kailin Park was locked up by blue iron walls, people can neither get in or out. With no home to return to, Uncle Kun went to our house; and since I was studying overseas in Australia, he slept in my empty room for a week. Frustrated, he told me over the phone, that “so much time was wasted last month, and nothing was done.”
On Oct. 14th, my dad went to a nearby town called Huji (in Zhongxiang, Hubei province, China) where there is a factory of the company that he works for. He was supposed to stay there for a week. On the 20th, 2 Huji students and an adult tested positive. The whole Huji town quickly went into a lockdown, and all workers, 2 thousand of them, were to be quarantined right there and then. They must stay inside the factory during the restriction, which would last until cases drop to a certain point. (By the 29th of Oct, there are still no signs of any ease on the lockdown).
Food wasn’t a problem, because there was a large canteen in the factory. But there was no accommodation for 2000 workers, only dorm rooms for around 400. My dad had to make quick arrangements for this. Eventually, they bought thousands of mattresses and quilts to make beddings on the floor. These were brought from nearby cities, mainly Jingmen, Jingzhou, and Xiangyang.
My dad was able to leave with a friend who had permission, so he hurried back to our home in Jingmen, where he was told by his friend that all travellers from Huji must report themselves and quarantine at home. But as he planned to go to Yichang for another business trip soon, he pretended that he never knew this information. On that day when he was having lunch, he received a call from the pandemic prevention people, politely asking him about his recent travels. He told them that he will be leaving for Yichang immediately, to which they agreed. Then he dropped his chopsticks and drove to Yichang.
HIST30060: This was a photo taken before dinner during my self quarantine at the beginning of this year, as I had come into close contact with my mum who had COVID on Christmas day. I was then promptly messaged by the Department of Health and Human Services to quarantine for the next week, which also meant I had to self isolate on my birthday (New Year's Eve). This dinner was the final night of that quarantine, in my apartment with my girlfriend and her dog, eating a dinner we had organised through having our groceries delivered for the first and only time. This quarantine reminded me and still reminds me of the presence COVID still has in our lives even in 2022, years on from the beginning of the pandemic and outside of lockdown restrictions. The virus still restricts us in ways we had not experienced before 2020.
HIST30060: This photo was taken at the Melbourne Black Lives Matter protest in June of 2020, it was one amongst the wave of protests taking place across the world sparked by protests in the United States following George Floyd's death at the hands of the police. It was the second protest I had attended and the sheer number of people attending to show solidarity with people of colour in the US and shed light on police issues at home was an inspiring sight despite the harrowing reality of it all. Figures such as the Prime Minister at the time cited health risks as reason to not demonstrate, but this potential of COVID spreading however was consistently weaponised by conservative pundits (despite their consistent calls for lax restrictions). to discredit the movement.
HIST30060: This is a screenshot of a whatsapp group chat for the workplace I was in during the sixth COVID lockdown in Melbourne. Despite restrictions being at its highest at this point, the profits for my workplace broke new records this week, similar as to how other major companies raked in major profits during the lockdown era. I remember working that Wednesday night, me and the few coworkers I was with were inundated mostly by online delivery orders but there was still a steady stream of customers coming in (quite often without masks) to order in person. There was little reward for our efforts, but at the very least I was afforded some peace and quiet on the commute home with the lockdowns in place.
HIST30060: This is an image of when I was waiting to leave the Royal Exhibition Building following my first vaccination. The experience was not something I was unfamiliar with, throughout high school I received regular vaccinations, the only downside this time was there not being a bowl of lollies to reward myself with as there was during high school. I had been anticipating the worst of symptoms after what I had heard from others, but fortunately all I really got was a stiff arm. This was also amidst the beginnings of the anti-vax movement and protests that we unfortunately are so accustomed to at this point.
HIST30060: Just before the second lockdown in Melbourne I was told by my mum that my grandfather and step grandmother had been suddenly without warning placed into a sharp lockdown within the public housing they resided in. The confusion and anger was quickly shared by my family and extended family members, where was the consideration for some of the most vulnerable members of the community, who in some cases cannot speak english? Why were they subject to such harsh conditions whilst those in the wealthy inner east free to enjoy themselves despite their equally high rates of covid? This was noticed by me as well in the harsher treatment of those in the poorer, diverse suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne during some of the worst times of the pandemic.
This was a more joyful moment from lockdown. For long periods of Melbourne's lockdown a picnic in the park was the only way to catch up with friends. It became a very popular activity for my friends and lots of other people in Melbourne. Every evening when the weather was good the parks would be full of groups.
To return to New Zealand in late 2020 I had to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine. Luckily, my hotel had a fenced off area of the carpark that we were able to use for exercise for an hour each day. This strava activity shows a run I did around the very small carpark (one of six during the two weeks), which involved running in my mask and staying a few meters from the other people in the space. Without these bursts of activity, two weeks in a hotel room would have been much less bearable.
With lots of extra time to spare during the lockdowns, my Mum started writing letters to me as a way to share news. This was a lovely way to stay in touch between Australia and New Zealand, although by the time the letters made it through the very very slow postal system they were weeks out of date. This particular letter from the very start of the pandemic captures the novelty and chaos of the situation very well -- most events are starting to be cancelled, the border between NZ and AU has shut, and everyone is slowly coming to terms with what's happening.
This photo shows a newspaper article published during Melbourne's 2021 lockdown. Following significant anti-lockdown protests in the CBD, the police enacted a 'ring of steel' around the CBD to prevent further protests. I was actually turned around at one of the checkpoints (unaware that the city had been shut) earlier that morning on my morning run. This was one of the most dystopian moments from the whole pandemic and highlighted the lengths the government was willing to take to stop the protests in Melbourne.
I’ve selected 5 different photos which give a little insight into being a tertiary student during the COVID19 pandemic. I started my Bachelor of Art degree in March of 2020, fresh out of high school. I was so incredibly excited and had a great first few weeks (I think one or two) and O-Week. I was lucky enough to go on a first year Arts student camp in February, where I made a handful of friends that I am still close with today; it was this small social interaction that really served as the bulk of my Uni social life for my degree because ‘going online’ severely stunted my ability to connect with new people. In the screenshot of a Zoom conference call, I am having a zoom call with some of the people I meet on this camp, a kind of ‘reunion’ during the first lockdown in 2020.
Reflecting on some of the other limitations on the social life of a young student who is very social, I have included a screenshot of an Instagram post I did in April of 2020. It was my 19th birthday, and my ‘obligatory’ birthday post for the year looked a lot different to other years. Rather than being out celebrating with friends in real life, we did a group zoom call where we sang Happy Birthday and my friends watched me cut my cake through a screen. Some people got dressed up, donning dresses and a full face of makeup, to just wash it off when you clicked the camera off for the night. It was lovely to connect but looking back at these pictures now just leaves me with a strange, eerie feeling.
I have included a picture of my university set up, a table in our garden and my dog, Margot. I found it really hard to study in my house all the time, so I would often try to move around to different study zones in my house. I really focused on my study during lockdown, it felt like it was a productive use of time and something I could channel my thinking into. However, thinking so much about University, and always having it in my home (it was not like I was moving between a ‘home space’ and a ‘study space’) was really tiring and draining. Every day just felt the same. I have decided to take a gap year next year rather than moving straight into post-graduate study because I don’t want to feel that same kind of burn-out again.
Finally, I have two pictures which encapsulate some pass times during lockdown. One is my sister painting my bedroom walls; we did a lot of home improvement and beautification, giving ourselves little tasks and jobs that we could complete and feel satisfied with. The other picture is my sister and dog on the beach during a winter’s eve walk. I included this picture because her mask is visible. This picture was taken when there were restrictions about the quantity of family members you could walk with, the time you could leave your house, the necessity of wearing a mask and how far you could go from home. When this picture was taken, we had a curfew in place in Victoria (I think you had to be home before 10pm), you could only walk with household members, but only in groups of two at a time, you could not go further than 5km away from your home and you had to wear a face mask even when just walking your dog to a quiet beach. Reflecting on these harsh rules and the feelings I had at the time makes me feel quite sad as I feel like I missed out on so many experiences that I was promised with my university degree.
My experience as a Bachelor student was so far from what it should have been; so while I am extremely proud to be graduating in a few weeks, proud that I loved what I studied, felt empowered by what I learnt and feel like my academic skills have improved so much, I feel sad that I missed out on social connection, a sense of belonging to a school community, meeting people who are outside my regular circles, experiences with clubs and teams, not being able to use campus facilities and spaces. I am so lucky that I was extremely privileged in the lockdown, my family was all healthy, safe, we had minimal arguments, and they made me smile despite the circumstances; my friends were beyond wonderful, and I had a safe place to live and access to my university and learning online. But when I think back to the lockdowns and the impact of them, I still can’t help but get emotional. More than anything, I always find myself shocked about what we all went through and how unique it was.
This photo was taken just after midnight on October 22 2021, after the end of Melbourne's final lockdown. With the curfew lifted and fewer restrictions on leaving home we took the opportunity to come out at midnight and celebrate. This photo captures the excitement of the moment, which finally felt like we coming to the end of the most difficult period of the pandemic.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has had immense local and global ramifications, especially for us Victorians who have experienced the world’s longest lockdowns. It was a significant worldwide event which will certainly be looked back upon by future generations, just as we have analysed previous historical diseases, such as the bubonic plague. But how should archivists determine which sources, and likewise which voices should be permanently preserved within the historical record?
Traditionally, an archive is a collection of documents that archivists have selected to be permanently preserved as sources for future historical or other forms of research. Initially, only scholars with an ambition to conduct historical research had access to archives, but their digitisation and free nature have ensured that anyone is able to access the documents they contain online.
However, the process of creating both physical and digital archives is inherently flawed. Archivists have a formidable power to evaluate which sources are “worthy of inclusion”, and simultaneously which ones are not; essentially what compromises the historical record.
Therefore, although archivists are characterised as unbiased and impartial individuals, they are inextricably influenced by “societal biases” in their decision-making, as they simply have to select what they personally believe will have value to future researchers. It has culminated in them privileging and prioritising the voices of individuals within positions power, which has indefinitely created “gaps within the historical record” through inhibiting the voices of those without it.
Rodney G.S. Carter echoes the problem in asserting that the existence of archival “silences” is the “manifestation of the actions of the powerful”, which has a substantial impact on how marginalised groups produce and likewise form both social history and memory. Ariella Aïsha Azoulay has cautioned readers that “digital archives are no exception”.
With this in mind, if we consider the 19-month impact of the pandemic upon Victoria, I am certain that archivists will acknowledge the voices of those within positions of power when determining what sources should be preserved. Of particular importance would be those of primary actors that shaped Victoria’s lockdown experience, most importantly the protagonist of the lockdowns, Premier Daniel Andrews (fig.1).
Figure 1. Video of Premier announcing sixth lockdown, cited in Patrick Durkin, “’Recuring nightmare’: Victoria’s snap lockdown is the ‘new normal,’” Financial Review, August 5, 2021, URL: https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/very-concerned-victoria-faces-lockdown-after-eight-new-cases-20210805-p58g3o.
I am aware of the threat of “information overload” both real and digital archives currently face with an abundance of available sources, but I would argue that the preservation of major political statements alongside previously supressed voices would be beneficial to any archive created surrounding the Victorian Covid-19 experience.
A consideration of the experiences of marginalised voices would be imperative to a future historian, as it would enrich historiography by offering insight into the social-political dynamics of the event, and its psychological impact beyond official government and political documents.
I will now consider the value of this “bottom-up approach” in capturing the Victorian pandemic experience from the viewpoint of the common man, me, a historically marginalised group within the realm of archives.
I personally wasn’t too concerned about the first lockdown and its stage three and four restrictions as they would “flatten the curve” of infectious cases, providing our health system with the best opportunity to tackle the fast-spreading virus. Life as we know it changed though with only four reasons to leave home; shopping, exercise, caregiving, and work. The café I worked at had to shift to “take away only”, as many others (fig.2).
Figure 2. The Food Republic Café, “covid update for customers,” Blackburn, March 23, 2020, URL: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodrepubliccafe.
I was still able to work alongside my barista colleague and friend Max which was pretty good, and I was able to perfect my coffee artwork (fig.3).
Figure 3. The Food Republic Café, “promotional post during lockdown 1” Blackburn, April 8, 2020, URL: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodrepubliccafe.
I was also able to continue exercising and riding my bike, but I wasn’t able to see or visit any friends or family, which initially seemed like a fair sacrifice to make for the health and wellbeing of all Victorians (fig.4).
Figure 4. George Vesnaver, Selfie on bike ride, April 10, 2020, photograph, Main Yarra Trail, Melbourne.
However, after being continuously plunged in and out of lockdowns by the time the sixth one came about, I was very angry to say the least as representative within my covid journal entry (fig. 5).
Figure 5. George Vesnaver, Covid Journal Entry, October 27, 2022, photograph, Kew East, Melbourne.
Laura A. Millar’s observation that “the concept of evidence” must be broadened as opposed to its current restrictive and rigid format adopted by archivists has reaffirmed my belief that my experience and that of other regular people should not be forgotten.
My sources may just seem like information to an archivist because of their form, but they are filled with evidence of this historic moment. Their eternal preservation within an archive would serve anyone wanting to write about the Victorian Covid-19 experience in the foreseeable future. For example, figure 2. would enable one to see how government information was disseminated via social media; the confirming and likewise conforming of political decisions. Figure 3. would reveal the way in which people adapted to Victoria’s first initial lockdown via humour, helping us remember attitudes towards the past event. Figure 4. would showcase a sense of normality during unprecedented times, through an ability to continue exercising. But most importantly the response depicted in figure 5. towards figure 1., a first-hand account of the psychological impact of the endless lockdowns instigated by those with political powers.
Winston Churchill once said that “history is written by the victors”, so considering those with and without power survived the pandemic it seems only fair that all our voices should be recognised in the historical record.
In isolation, I found myself coming closer to my family. I was living in Melbourne at the time, away from my home in Tasmania, but maintained constant connection via video calling and messaging my family. One way I connected with home was by sharing old photos with my sister. This is one she sent me while I was in lockdown. It was taken around 2008. Trawling through thousands of old photos was an easy way to keep occupied during lockdowns, and I’m partially glad that COVID gave me the free time to do so as it was a fun way to bond with family and massage out the homesickness.